USDA Awards $59 million in Loans and Grants for Rural Communities

USDA Awards $59 million in Loans and Grants for Rural Communities
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September 24, 2014

North Carolina organizations have been awarded grants and loans to support economic growth in rural communities.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) awarded about $6.250 million in loans to five organizations and $600,000 in grants to an additional two for various projects. The organizations were seven of 85 utilities and development organizations in more than 30 states that were chosen for funding through the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLG) program and the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP).

Under the REDLG program, the USDA provides zero-interest loans to local utilities which then, in turn, relend the funds to local businesses for projects that will create and retain employment in rural areas. The program funds business start-up or expansion, business incubators, education and training facilities and equipment, community development assistance, health care and other projects that support rural jobs.

Under RMAP, the USDA provides loans to Microenterprise Development Organizations (MDOs) that, in turn, make microloans for business start-up or development to eligible microentrepreneurs defined as very small businesses with 10 or fewer employees. Grants are available for MDOs to provide technical assistance and training, particularly in rural areas experiencing persistent poverty or significant outmigration. USDA does not directly provide funds to the ultimate recipients.

The RMAP was created under the 2008 Farm Bill and recently reauthorized through the 2014 Farm Bill.

North Carolina Projects Awarded Loans
Lumbee River Electric Cooperative, $1.1 million, to expand a commercial contractor's business
Brunswick Electric Membership Corporation, $1.7 million, to help the Town of Shallotte purchase real estate for redevelopment along the Shallotte River
Energy United Electric Member Corporation, $2 million, to help Davidson County develop a site for a large business park near Linwood
Roanoke Electric Membership Corporation, $1 million, to help the Roanoke Economic Development Center make energy efficiency improvements to residential and commercial buildings
Edgecombe-Martin Electric Membership Corporation, $450,000, to purchase equipment for a company that is starting a new manufacturing line

North Carolina Projects Awarded Grants
Four County Electric Membership Corporation, $300,000, to purchase three new ambulances for Pender County EMS and Fire
Four County Electric Membership Corporation, $300,000, to purchase a new water pumper truck for the Town of Elizabethtown